By Riki Shore
As I write this, the Southern California sun is streaming in my dining room, bleaching everything it touches and raising the indoor temps to above 80 degrees. Crazy for January, no? And yet, I’m craving beef stew. It must be all the East Coast winters of my childhood that make me crave cold-weather dishes at this time of year.
This stew is inspired by a recipe in Michael Psilakis’ wonderful cookbook How to Roast a Lamb. Everything I’ve made from that book is incredible, but he often calls for a long list of ingredients. I’ve simplified his stew recipe without compromising his bright and elegant flavors.
For those of you following the Whole 30 January Challenge (I am), or those who are just cleansing a bit after the holidays, this is a terrific recipe. It can be made in advance and reheated for a crowd, or you can make the full batch and have wonderful leftovers for the weeknights.
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds stew meat, in 1 1/2-inch chunks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 sweet onion
1 celery stalk
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 – 5 cups water or beef stock
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig sage
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoons parlsey
1. Finely chop the onion, carrot and celery. Set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the beef well with salt and pepper. Sear on all sides, about 5 – 6 minutes.
3. Add all the chopped vegetables and cook another 2 minutes.
4. Add the tomato paste and cook 1 minute more.
5. Add the wine and vinegar and reduce them slightly.
6. Add the water or stock, 2 teaspoons salt, pepper to taste, and the rosemary, thyme, sage and cinnamon. Bring everything to a boil, then simmer gently, partially covered, for an hour. If the stew appears dry, add some more water by the 1/2-cupful.
7. Keep simmering about 30 minutes more, until the beef is very tender and the liquid is saucy.
8. Remove the cinnamon sticks and ladle out bowls of stew. Drizzle with olive oil, then top with freshly grated orange zest and chopped parsley.